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In Gaza, the ultimate humiliation

Israel/Palestine
on 33 Comments

Every Monday, Palestinians in Nuseirat refugee camp rummage through piles of secondhand Israeli junk in the cheapest market is the Gaza Strip. There are dozens of piles of items from silverware to underwear.

During my most recent visit to the Gaza Strip, I visited the Monday market with my colleagues Jehad Saftawi and Lara Aburamadan. The market was bustling and there was little shade to provide respite from the sun. Several dozen people of all ages sifted through piles of clothing on the ground, much of it stained and below the standard of what a discerning person would consider suitable for donation. At just one shekel per item, the Monday market is the only option for many Palestinian to find affordable clothing.

Among the piles of unsorted clothing are countless shirts that feature Israeli military designs. Here are a few I found in a few minutes of digging:

Insignia and name for the Druze-populated Sword Battalion, photo by Dan Cohen

Insignia and name for the Druze-populated Sword Battalion, photo by Dan Cohen

That is the insignia and name for the Druze-populated Sword Battalion.

t-shirt, photo by Dan Cohen

Airhead IDF t-shirt found in Gaza market, photo by Dan Cohen

The pink inscription reads, top to bottom:

AirheadGirl IDF

Prepare for muster

3… 2… Attention

LIKE DUH!

HONOR!

[Peace sign] Foray 2011

But perhaps the most disturbing was this:

 

Team Yoav, on t-shirt in Gaza, photo by Dan Cohen

Team Yoav, on t-shirt in Gaza, photo by Dan Cohen

 

To be clear, the image on the front is some kind of mythological demonic creature with wings, prepared to drop a bomb. Considering Gaza’s function as a laboratory for Israel’s weapons industry, this is a particularly disturbing sight. Underneath it, says “Team Yoav,” which appears to be a reconnaissance team belonging to the Golani Brigade.

However, the text on the back of the shirt might provide the most insight into the relationship between Israel and Gaza.

Tshirt saying Whichever way we want it, whenever we want, in Hebrew, in Gaza, photo by Dan Cohen

Tshirt saying Whichever way we want it, whenever we want, in Hebrew, in Gaza, photo by Dan Cohen

It reads: “Whichever way we want it, whenever we want.”

This phrase, the motto of Sayeret Golani which existed before the occupation, encapsulates Israeli domination of everyday Palestinian life, especially in the Gaza Strip. Obscured by the common terminology of “conflict,” Israel’s restrictions and control – by means of siege, severe limits on freedom of movement, and regular bombing campaigns – are reflected crystal clear by this statement.

That Israel allows Palestinians in Gaza to import used goods is not a symbol of goodwill or charitable policy – it represents normalization of the siege. To place this in proper context, remember that basic necessities such as adequate electricity and water are not let into Gaza, and Israel calculates the caloric intake for every Palestinian in Gaza, keeping the population malnourished but above catastrophe.

Of course, large swaths of areas that were decimated last year look almost exactly as they did at the end of the war. Just 25% of the $5.4 billion promised by international donors to rebuild has entered Gaza.

In effect, Palestinians can have a used Israeli fork to consume their allotted caloric intake while sitting on piles of rubbles where their families and neighbors were slaughtered by Israeli bombs as they slept, while wearing a humiliating shirt that announces, “My occupier can attack me in whichever way it wants, at any time it chooses, and coerce me to wear a shirt saying so.”

Editor’s Note: An older version of this article omitted that the phrase, “Whichever way we want it, whenever we want,” is the motto of Sayeret Golani. 

With thanks to Dena Shunra for translation.

 

Reporting on the Ground

Dan Cohen
About Dan Cohen

Dan Cohen is an independent journalist and filmmaker based in Palestine. He tweets at @dancohen3000.

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33 Responses

  1. OlegR
    OlegR
    June 29, 2015, 11:11 am

    Actually you mistranslated the last insignia.

    • Qualtrough
      Qualtrough
      July 1, 2015, 3:01 pm

      OlegR – If you were able to muster the energy to let us know that it was mistranslated, then surely you could have wasted a few more minutes of your precious time to let us know the correct translation? Or was your point just to be petty? Rhetorical question.

      • Naftush
        Naftush
        July 2, 2015, 5:55 am

        Wherever we want, however we choose.

  2. just
    just
    June 29, 2015, 11:47 am

    *screaming here*

    Demonically motivated Occupiers.

    Damned.

    Thank you Dan Cohen.

  3. eljay
    eljay
    June 29, 2015, 12:10 pm

    It reads: “Whichever way we want it, whenever we want.”

    Rapists and their captive victims.

  4. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    June 29, 2015, 12:18 pm

    ““Whichever way we want it, whenever we want.”

    Yep, that sounds like “self-defense” to me.

  5. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    June 29, 2015, 12:57 pm

    RE: “To be clear, the image on the front is some kind of mythological demonic creature with wings, prepared to drop a bomb.” ~ Dan Cohen

    MY COMMENT: ¡Muy Macho!

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson
      June 29, 2015, 1:32 pm

      P.S.

      Daniel 7
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      [EXCERPT] Daniel 7 (the seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel) tells of Daniel’s vision of four world-kingdoms replaced by the kingdom of God. Four beasts come out of the sea, the Ancient of Days sits in judgement over them, and “one like a son of man” is given eternal kingship. An angelic guide interprets the beasts as kingdoms and kings, the last of whom will make war on the “holy ones” of God, but he will be destroyed and the “holy ones” will be given eternal dominion.
      It is generally accepted that the Book of Daniel is a product of the mid-2nd century BCE.[1] It is an apocalypse, a literary genre in which a heavenly reality is revealed to a human recipient;[2] it is also an eschatology, a divine revelation concerning the moment in which God will intervene in history to usher in the final kingdom.[3] Its context is the Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV, who outlawed Jewish customs and built an altar to Zeus in the Temple (the “abomination of desolation”), sparking a popular uprising which led to the retaking of Jerusalem and the Temple by Judas Maccabeus.[4][5] Chapter 7 introduces the theme of the “four kingdoms”, which is that Israel would come under four successive world-empires, each worse than the last, until finally God and his hosts would end oppression and introduce the eternal kingdom.[6] . . .

      SOURCE – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_7#Beast_like_a_lion

      P.P.S.
      Daniel’s vision of the four beasts – woodcut by Hans Holbein the Younger

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 3:24 pm

        JL, your gravatar looks exactly like my dog Dora! Spitting image.

      • JLewisDickerson
        JLewisDickerson
        July 2, 2015, 12:14 am

        You are fortunate to have such a photogenic pooch.
        Take a look at my pups!

      • just
        just
        July 2, 2015, 12:34 am

        awwwwww! How absolutely & divinely precious.

        John, thank you! I’m going to have happy chocolate lab dreams now~ ours has gone to the rainbow bridge, but my heart remembers.

        Thanks Mooser, John, Dora, Samba, and all the other cuties!

  6. annie
    annie
    June 29, 2015, 1:07 pm

    But perhaps the most disturbing was this:
    [ re photo of last t shirt]

    To be clear, the image on the front is some kind of mythological demonic creature with wings, prepared to drop a bomb. Considering Gaza’s function as a laboratory for Israel’s weapons industry, this is a particularly disturbing sight. Underneath it, says “Team Yoav,” which appears to be a reconnaissance team belonging to the Golani Brigade.

    a mythological demonic creature with wings, prepared to drop a bomb is the sort of cult like thing i’d expect from sadistic members or ex members of the israeli military. maybe it doesn’t disturb me as it might have in my past because of the psychological trauma of last summers slaughter. i think with time, even tho i once thought it couldn’t get any worse, i’ve learned to put nothing past them. the idea of some soldier donating a shirt like this so their captives can wear their own domination imposed by the sadist, perfectly demonstrates the morals behind israeli oppression. it’s intended to disturb, and i’ll just not be sucked into it. we know already, what makes them tick.

    when dealing with a sadist mentality don’t bite, that’s what they want.

    i really appreciate this article. exposing this twisted sadism is a crucial component of american understanding and awareness of our ‘special friend’ and understanding our draconian complicity in this ongoing crime.

    • just
      just
      June 29, 2015, 1:19 pm

      “when dealing with a sadist mentality don’t bite, that’s what they want”

      Agreed. But normal people can run away from sadists and those with a dissocial personality disorder/malevolent psychopathy/sociopathy.

      Palestinians in Palestine can’t run away from the state of Israel which has features of all of the above.

      • annie
        annie
        June 30, 2015, 1:30 am

        i know, it’s awful. sadism.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      June 30, 2015, 7:46 am

      Off topic

      I just listened your interview with Scott Horton Annie. It’s so lovely to hear your voice for the first time. You sound more lovely and wonderful than I even imagined.

      I could listen to endlessly. More please!!

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen
      June 30, 2015, 12:20 pm

      “it’s intended to disturb” However does demonstrate how deeply disturbed Israel has become.

  7. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    June 29, 2015, 1:21 pm

    The disturbing slogan on the sweatshirt says, “Wherever we want, which ever path (or means) that we choose”. Your translation is a mistranslation.

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick
      June 29, 2015, 2:00 pm

      “Your translation is a mistranslation.”

      Would “by any means necessary” work as well?

  8. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    June 29, 2015, 2:14 pm

    It seems to me either some person or persons deliberately sent these shirts to Gaza (sadism) or some person or persons just tossed in some shirts and didn’t care that they were IDF garments (indifference). I can’t can’t figure out which one is worse.

  9. amigo
    amigo
    June 29, 2015, 3:27 pm

    Meanwhile at a Jewish “Anti Gay” protest in New York !!.

    “gay pride

    New York City gay pride parade of 2015. (photo credit:JEWEL SAMAD / AFP)

    An extremist Jewish group paid non-Jewish Mexican laborers to protest on their behalf at the New York gay pride parade Sunday and hold up anti-gay signs, the New York Times reported.

    The report showed a picture of the paid protestors wearing Tzitzit, black hats and even fake peyot [sidelocks] in the style worn by hardline ultra-orthodox sects of Judaism as they stood behind a police barricade at the parade.

    When asked by if they were Jewish, one of the protestors openly replied in the negative and stated that they were Mexican laborers paid to be there.

    The signs they held all bore the logo of the Jewish Political Action Committee and had slogans such as “Judaism prohibits homosexuality” and “G-d created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.”

    The paid laborers took the brunt of peoples’ rage as parade-goers hurled open water bottles at them and kissed.

    JPAC member Heshie Freed confirmed that the protestors were paid to be there, and added that it was done to prevent yeshiva students, who normally protest at events, from being exposed to the homosexuality on display.

    “The rabbis said that the yeshiva boys shouldn’t come out for this because of what they would see at the parade,” he said.

    http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Mexican-laborers-paid-by-extremist-Jewish-group-to-protest-NYC-gay-pride-parade-407495

    gotta keep those yesha boys from the real world.

    Honestly , you could not make this stuff up.

    • just
      just
      June 29, 2015, 4:06 pm

      Yeah, amigo~ I linked to that somewhere else…

      There’s so much wrong with what JPAC et al did.

      1) exploitation of “Mexican laborers”
      2) deception by disguise
      3) paying for representation (not unlike AIPAC, btw)
      4) protecting homophobes
      5) etc.

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick
      June 29, 2015, 4:40 pm

      I read that story over the weekend, hilarious.

      “JPAC member Heshie Freed confirmed that the protestors were paid to be there, and added that it was done to prevent yeshiva students, who normally protest at events, from being exposed to the homosexuality on display.”

      Oh puleeeze! These young gentlemen are studying in a male only environment and yet know NOTHING about same sex relationships? As the Brits would say “pull the other one.”

  10. Bornajoo
    Bornajoo
    June 29, 2015, 5:32 pm

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention and everything else you do Dan Cohen

    Disturbing but unfortunately not surprising

  11. Citizen
    Citizen
    June 30, 2015, 12:08 am

    Always good to know where my tax money goes.

  12. Kay24
    Kay24
    June 30, 2015, 6:55 am

    Obama loves Israel THIS MUCH. Sometimes the “good cop” shows it’s true colors this way.

    “WASHINGTON — After a grueling legislative battle, US President Barack Obama signed into law a controversial trade measure that also contains landmark legislation combating the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in Europe.”

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/obama-signs-anti-bds-bill-into-law/

    • socialconscience
      socialconscience
      June 30, 2015, 11:44 pm

      America’s complicity is utterly nauseating

      All the while presenting the face of the softly softly president

      not a bean of this in the mainstream media

      Headline ought to read:

      U.S. President signs law to scupper any peaceful

      opposition to world’s largest concentration

      camp

  13. just
    just
    June 30, 2015, 8:17 am

    UNWRA produces a lovely video that I found via Ship to Gaza Sweden:

    “#SOS4Gaza: Message in a Bottle tells the story of Bayan, Mahmoud, Hala, Nidal, Bashar, Mina and Shahd, a group of Palestine refugee children from Beach Camp in Gaza. Frustrated by the bleak conditions in which they live, the children decide to put messages expressing their hopes and dreams in bottles, which they send out to sea in the hopes that help will come. Their message cannot wait.”

  14. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    June 30, 2015, 12:21 pm

    Sick. Very sick.

  15. yourstruly
    yourstruly
    June 30, 2015, 12:26 pm

    Gaza and the Warsaw Ghetto

    same place
    different times
    while the world stands by
    genocide
    live

  16. Vera Gottlieb
    Vera Gottlieb
    July 2, 2015, 10:51 am

    How about treating the israelis this way. Give them a taste of their own medicine. I used to feel shame, now I feel nothing but contempt.

    • ihatejuice
      ihatejuice
      July 8, 2015, 12:56 am

      The world has already done that and worse since the beginning of time. You shouldn’t fall for all the propaganda this site provides. Be above it.

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